Star vs. the Forces of Evil, crudely abbreviated as SvtFoE, is the most recent major Disney show that met its conclusion last May after airing for four seasons. As regrettably cheesy as the name sounds, the show did hold a memorable place in Disney’s arsenal of mostly forgettable shows.
The show follows a formula similar to most of the popular entries found in Western animation of climbing up a slow ladder while shifting from a filler-heavy and mostly nonsequential territory to a more mature and plot-centric approach. The show does so in a weighted manner, not straying too far from its light-hearted roots unlike shows exhibiting extremely polarised developments.
As for a small synopsis, the show revolves around Star, a magical princess from the Kingdom of Mewni who gets sent to earth to hone her magical abilities. There she meets the Diaz family, with Marco Diaz becoming her partner in crime as they go on towards various mischievous adventures. The unappealing synopsis doesn’t do the show any justice. Like a lot of Western animated shows, the show doesn’t pick up any pace until the very end of the first season as all the episodes before that are mostly light-hearted and sometimes, cheesy filler episodes. Most of them are not bad or unenjoyable by any means, as filler episodes too can contribute to the tidbits of character development and set a pretty wholesome tone in general.
The third season of the show is its magnum opus as it is excellently executed, with the second season acting as a decent build-up. It mostly resonates themes of self-exploration, friendships, and relationships with a subtle touch of politics at the end. The show doesn’t shy away from showing the flaws of the characters regardless of their roles in the plot and doesn’t guarantee a happy ending or a redemption arc for all. Ludo, for example, started as an obnoxious textbook Western animation antagonist with trite lines and ridiculous defeats engraved to his fate. Throughout the rest of the show, he gets abused, fails to find his place and slowly devolves into insanity, a polar opposite of Tom, who transforms from a hot-headed and egomaniac persona into a completely reasonable and likeable character in the later seasons. The show’s protagonists are not free from malicious emotions such as jealousy or greed for power either. There really isn’t a well-defined objective as each season spawns a new issue for Star to tackle and she does so by opening new doors to her powers and eventually embracing a bold sacrifice at the very end.
Now for the complaints. The show fails to balance out the fillers with its plot-centric episodes and seems to suffer from an identity crisis when its tone changes to embrace heavier themes. It’s a Disney show after all, and the limitation on the number of seasons imposed on it had always been obvious given how the network has dealt with other shows. Given that it’s a story-based show, it makes less sense to populate the last season with fillers and gear it more towards tightly-knit episodes. And there are certain relationships in the show that were poorly fleshed out, ending before they even started. The show also fails to escape a lot of Western animation stereotypes.
Is the show worth watching? Yes, but only when you do have a lot of time to spare. While it’s true that SvtFoE is nowhere near as succinct or as brilliant as Gravity Falls, it still holds a candle to the recent state of Western animation. It’s that show you know you would’ve held very dearly if it were a part of your childhood.
Deeparghya Dutta Barua likes to feel apprehensive whenever there are more than two people around. Help him in finding new ways of butchering his name at firstname.lastname@example.org